Clarks Desert Boots

63FC832E-9BD6-4E38-B10C-EB703075DDD8

The Fast Show – a UK TV show from the mid-1990’s  – had a wealth of characters created by Charlie Higson and Paul Whitehouse – amongs others. One particular favourite was “Louis Balfour” – played by John Thomson – who was the oh so slightly pretentious presenter of “Jazz Club” with a catchphrase – when all else failed – of “Nice!”. You rarely got to see his feet but my bet is that he would’ve worn Clarks Desert Boots

See here a sample of Jazz Club The Best of Louis Balfour’s Jazz Club

Now you have to follow this, Louis was cut from a very similar cloth to a couple of Art Masters at my last school. They insisted on being called “Chris” and “Steve” as indeed I suspect they were their real names and as 6th Formers it seemed odd to continue with “Sir”. They wore corduroy jackets – in brown and country green – one with contrasting leather elbow patches – they had a penchant for practical Farah Hopsack trousers – don’t ask – and each had several pairs of iconic Clarks Desert Boots.

Quite what desert there were planning to cross in leafy Cheshire was uncertain but none the less these two were simply the coolest guys in the school.  “Steve” with his long hair even drove a late reg VW Beetle – click here to our previous post Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined – you can imagine he was already ice cool to me.

Assured not to be bitten by scorpions nor rattle snakes, Clarks Desert Boots to this day are an iconic and a highly flexible wardrobe essential that you can wear with jeans, moleskins or chinos and they will always look the part. Just avoid wearing in the rain – they are suede and, after all, are intended for deserts!

CEFDD56B-078C-4F08-9E58-50B58D4FB2B7

C. & J. Clark International Ltd, (“Clarks”) was founded in 1825 by Quaker brothers Cyrus and James Clark in Street, (Somerset, England) where its HQ is still based – although manufacturing is now predominantly undertaken in Asia. Clark’s continues to be 84% family owned.

Since 1879 the Clark’s trade mark has been the distinctive Glastonbury Tor with the St Michael’s tower.

7CCB581C-0043-44B8-AD69-C5EB3594125B

The Desert Boot was launched in 1950 having been designed by the co-founders, James’, great-grandson, Nathan Clark, a serving British Army Officer based in Burma. It is said that the Desert Boot was based on the unlined boots made in the bazaar’s of Cairo for returning British Army Officers during the Second World War.

1C944518-5070-47CA-8E32-1D9E080C9AB9

Post War the Desert Boot saw adoption by the Mod Culture in UK, the Beatnik Culture in the US and were known to be a favourite of the Student anit-capitalist demonstrations in Paris in May 1968.

Why not be like Steve McQueen or Liam Gallagher and get a pair of Clarks original Desert Boots – please click the links below the images below to be directed to AMAZON – the two links show the full colour range available.

264A70FB-C14A-4775-9A50-1C95D6BEA40E

Clarks Desert Boot, Men’s Derby, Braun (Cola Suede), 10 UK

A047C24D-D007-4EA7-B5C8-AF8B47AFE1DA

Clarks Originals Desert Boot, Men’s Derby Lace-Up, Brown (Brown Sde), 9 UK 43 EU)

41B71094-0D50-4531-A222-921CFC08E66D

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images courtesy of C & J Clark International Limited

Iconic Surf Brands

ABA96DC2-AEFB-43ED-B3FE-556F75D2F5CC

I love surf/hippie/beach culture. Whilst it may be a complete mare to get to in July and August the realm of Tarifa, on Spain’s Costa de la Luz, is a Mecca for those who get their kicks on a kite, surf, SUP or boogie board – see our previous post here on Morey Boogie Boards – Morey Boogie boards.

E3BD64A3-C262-463E-9BDF-0F042CD5D3E4

This is a lifestyle, available to all adherents. Whether you are a weekend hippie with a real job in corporate finance, benefit from a distant relative having invented some practical gizmo that makes life easier even today, a vacationing student or a “Crusty”, who sees the conventional pressures to earn a living, have a mortgage or to otherwise conform to some dated middle class ideal of the perfect life, as pointless, then there’s a welcome for you on the beach.

087E30BC-A0BC-4386-A2C0-6B77A201C877

For core participants of this tribe, whose transient existence may be complemented, if they have the funds, see previous references to those in the City and/or being a Trustafarian – by a VW bus – see our previous post here – Volkswagen Kombi – as the perfect transport for your kites and boards, their careful devotion to their appearance on an off the sand is crucial. Indeed being able to take the beach with them as they return to their other life is made possible by several wonderful and iconic surf brands who shroud the faithful when the smell of the salt air is a fading memory.

255907BB-C7B0-43FF-80E2-1BF57216FA2E.jpeg

Founded in Tarifa in the 1990’s by designer Andoni Galdeano and entrepreneur Herbert Newman, the El Niño brand of surfwear is defined by a passion for the perfect wave and embraces much of what our tribe of surf worshippers love. It’s colourful, expressive and almost all pieces bare the distinctive El Niño logo that my family has always called “the Angry Sperm” – the little discontented drip. In fact the name comes from the “levante” wind of the same name that blows from the East  over Tarifa.

For Adults and Children – add an El Niño shirt to your summer collection by clicking the Amazon link after the image

569EE273-5DE9-4632-BA0B-9342ACBEA5DC

El Niño The Child 11102 T-Shirt, Men, Men, 11102, Grey (Stone Grey), Medium

9B068EE2-036B-4454-AB5A-BD76D200FB5B

El Niño The Child 0128013101 T-Shirt, Children, 13101, Orange (Fiesta), 12

9FB79A0E-08A4-42AA-9611-1F8BBC432C5A

Quiksilver was founded in Torquay (Australia) in 1969 by Alan Green and John Law. It is now a multi-million dollar business, one of the largest manufacturers of surf and related sports goods, operating many stores worldwide. The company developed the successful young woman’s wear brand “Roxy” – who’s logo is a duplicate of the Quiksilver wave doubled to form a heart – it also owns the DC brand of skate shoes.

After a difficult period of trading in 2016 and restructuring the majority shareholder is now Oaktree Capital Management. In 2017 the company’s name was changed to “Boardriders” and is now based in Huntington Beach, California.

Quiksilver, along with Rip Curl – also founded in 1969 in Torquay (Australia) and still owned by co-founders Doug Warbrick and Brian Singer – and Billabong – founded on Australia’s Gold Coast (Queensland) by Gordon and Rena Merchant in 1973 and now co-owned by Oaktree Capital – are regarded as the “Big Three” Surfwear companies.

Add a pair of Quiksilver nubuck flip-flops to your beach collection by clicking the Amazon link below the image

298B6BA2-A557-4D41-BBBF-C2D876BDEF56

Quiksilver Men’s Molokai Nubuck Flip Flops, Multicolour (Brown CTK0), 42 42 EU

Or a pair of cool DC low top shoes….

64A3DBED-2102-403B-B472-17757B1A17F9

DC Shoes Trase TX, Men’s Low-Top, Blue (Navy/Camel Nc2), 8 UK (42 EU)

293E4920-25B0-4D58-B6F7-98E357BAD56A

Orange County on California’s Pacific Coast is the home Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach each with their own distinctive surf communities. In the 1984 Shawn Stussy – a young surfboard manufacturer – who signed his boards with his distinctive signature – founded his eponymous surfwear brand with Frank Sinatra Jnr (unrelated to the singer) in Laguna Beach.

Stussy surfwear became a favourite of the hip-hop scene of the late 1980’s/early 1990’s. The brand is now a favourite of Drake and A$AP Rocky.

In 1996 Stussy left the brand selling his holding to Sinatra’s family who still own it.

A piece by Stussy is a must ….how about this signature cap? Click the Amazon link below the image

32E3AB07-4049-422C-A0C6-E2479833ECA8

Stussy Stock SP18 Snapback Hat Teal

Images with grateful thanks – El Niño Tarifa, Quiksilver/Boardriders, DC Shoes and Stussy.

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

Zodiac Inflatable Boats

3C9B8497-DD4E-4ED2-ABBA-A519DD69FFF7

I like boats but I have always thought that a conventional rigid hulled version was somewhat limiting. The practical reality of an inflatable boat means that it can easily be moved from one location to another and stored away from the water when not in use – thus saving a killing on mooring fees.

There are certain iconic products that through familiarity, usually based on exceptional built quality or performance, become the noun that defines the object. Hoover, Durex and Zodiac. A heritage brand.

Mrs W. spent many summers on Spain’s Costa del Sol as a teenager and when describing an inflatable boat she uses the term “Zodiac”. The boat owners she knew had their Zodiacs equipped with Mercury or Johnson outboards for use as ski boats, fun day boats or as tenders to larger vessels.

9F84F724-3C70-41A2-9D18-8F2C5A52C322

It will come as no surprise that these air filled and thermobonded tube-gunwaled boats can trace their origins to the airships of French company, Zodiac Aerospace founded in 1896. In the 1930s, Zodiac engineer, Pierre Debroutelle, developed early prototype inflatable boats for the use of the French ”Aéronavale” – the aviation arm of the French Navy. In 1934 he invented an inflatable kayak and catamaran and in 1937 Aeronavale commissioned Zodiac to produce inflatables pontoons to carry naval ordinance.

Following its development for military use, in the 1950’s French Navy officer and biologist, Alain Bombard, is credited with designing the combination of an outboard engine, a rigid floor and the boat-shaped inflatable. The resulting design was built by Zodiac. Bombard sailed a version across the Atlantic in 1952 and with his friend and fellow naval officer, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, it’s excellent performance made the Zodiac the tender of choice. See our previous post on the inspirational Jacques-Yves Cousteau here – Jacques Cousteau

The 1960’s saw a growth in the recreational use of small boats and Zodiac answered this demand partly by increasing their own production and partly by licensing others, such as Humber in the UK, to produce their boats. Further, US culture was exposed to Zodiac inflatables in Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau“ – get your copy by clicking the AMAZON link below the image.

656CA857-94C2-4F61-B102-CEFDD34ACA40

The Undersea World Of JACQUES COUSTEAU 6 DVD Box Set PAL

Increasingly from the early 1970’s the modern rigid inflatable boat (RIB) was a development of the classic – almost unsinkable – inflatable boat, enhanced by the addition of a rigid floor and solid hull – in GRP, steel, wood or aluminum. Adding a transom mounted powerful outboard engine made these craft highly manoeverable and able to cope with the roughest seas.

00BCB06C-82C9-4225-B3BE-E22120493698

RIBs became a favourite with the military – Zodiac established a separate division Zodiac Milpro to service this demand – and sea rescue services. Illegal smuggling gangs, intent on landing contraband whilst avoiding detection, in a part of the world I know well, made RIBs their vessel of choice – the authorities using even more military grade versions to thwart this ambition!

A3BA4C9B-D08E-4F39-8B85-1A4747F9A551

Image Credits – with grateful thanks – Zodiac Nautic.

If you like this post please “Like” and share it with your friends and colleagues. We’d really like to hear of your experiences of the products/subjects featured in this post. please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks 

STOP PRESS

20.07.18 – It’s been announced in Madrid, as part of Spain’s ongoing war on drug smuggling, particularly on the Costa del Sol and Gibraltar, that the Spanish Government is taking steps to ban the private use of RIBs that are longer than 8m or smaller but with a 150kW engine or bigger. Once sanctioned the ban will come into effect after six months.

Porsche 959 Paris – Dakar

5AAD3AA2-D563-40F8-879B-555CE8643334

Occassionally, with some smugness, you think you know everything about a preferred iconic item or product. Well, at the Grand Prix at Silverstone I was talking to a colleague who reminded me of the Porsche 959 that was made race ready for the 1980’s infamous Paris-Dakar Rally.

As we age there may come a point where crawling into and, more appropriately, out of a low slung sports car becomes a regrettable chore. Such is this case. A passionate 911 owner with a distinguished military history that has left his body a bit battered found his beloved 911 just too low and therefor unmanageable for daily use. However, the 959 with its revised and heightened suspension – the height of today’s SUVs – built for the inhospitable terrain not of the “Autoroute du Soleil” – the A6 South of Paris – but more for the sands of the Sahara, is perhaps the perfect compromise. Some height but still a 911. No, in this case a Cayenne will simply not fill the gap.

The Porsche 959, the brainchild of Porsche’s Chief Engineer in 1981, Helmuth Bott, was manufactured between 1986 and 1993. Initially as a Group B rally car – featuring all wheel drive that later became standard on all Porsche’s turbocharged versions, aluminum and Kevlar – it became the fastest street legal production car with a top speed depending on variant of between 197 and 211 mph.

8A27C5B9-BDBF-4B59-B930-CAAB1EF1C3C8

The 959 was unveiled at the 1983 Frankfurt Motor Show and produced at Porsche’s Baur custom facility and not at their usual Zuffenhausen plant. The road version was shown at the same show in 1985 with first deliveries in 1987 at a cost of $225,000 – which is said to be less than half the actual build cost. 345 cars in total were produced including eight produced from spare parts at Zuffenhausen between 1992/3.

6D5D29F2-C1D5-45A3-97DC-A5E8E35F2906

In 1984, in response to encouragement from the Belgian Formula 1 ace, Jackie Icks and and in compliance with the FIA Rules, requiring that Group B rally cars needed to be based on a production car that had been produced in more than 200 examples, a total of six – only five surviving – 911s were modified to 959 specifications. Three were used in the grueling 1985, 8,700 mile, Paris Dakar Rally – driven by Rene Metge and Dominque Lemoyne – with limited success. A 1986 variant used at Le Mans finished first in its class.

719F4BDA-A2BC-49D7-9DD7-CC68E5B463DD

The Paris-Dakar (Senegal) Rally – now called “The Dakar” – ran between 1979 to 2007 and in 2009 it moved to South America. It continues to be open to cars, quads, truck and motor bikes.

D057BF7F-5633-4823-A789-668B8C5623E9.jpeg

The 959 is a key link to later versions of the turbocharged 911s and one of these Porsche legends can be seen in the Porsche Museum.

If you’d like to own one of the rarest and most desirable Porsche’s ever built then you have a shot. In October (27th) this year RM Sotherby’s are hosting a Porsche 70th Anniversary Sale in Atlanta (Georgia). The centre piece of this sale is a Porsche 959 Group B Rally car decked out in its Rothman’s livery. Predictions suggest that the sales price for this once in a lifetime opportunity will be between $3m and $3.4m

If for some inexplicable reason you feel that the currently available 959 is a tad out of your price range, I have an essential man/woman cave scaled-down addition – please click the following Amazon link below the image.

68A91539-1E13-4CEB-95AE-02D0737E5A6C

Dickie-Schuco 413310006 – True 185 1986 1: 18 Scale Porsche 959/50 Dakar Rally Raid, Resin, White/Blue/Red Hmans Motif

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images – with grateful thnaks – courtesy of Robin Adams and RM Sotheby’s

Jacques-Yves Cousteau

5E8C64C8-6123-4A57-905C-7664299FCF4A

If you ask anyone raised in Europe or the US between the 1960’s to 1980’s to name an iconic and impactful TV programme, I can assure you that for many the under water natural history films of Jacques Cousteau would rank very high on a not very long list.

From the curious French soundtrack of slightly strident strings, to the Gallic, faltering commentary – I can never hear the French pronouciation of the name “Philippe” (one of his four children) without thinking of Capt Cousteau – this was pioneering television at its best. It left such an impact on us, a Jacques-Yves Cousteau sized hole that I suspect David Attenborough fills, but who was Cousteau?

Born 11th June 1910, Cousteau, in 1930 studied at the École Navale in Brittany (West France) after graduation he joined the French Navy. His commission was brief curtailed by a car accident where he sustained breaks to both arms. In 1937 he married Simone, the mother of his first two sons, Jean-Michel and Phillipe, who both would accompany their father on subsequent adventures.

In the late 1930’s Jacques first used diving goggles and in 1943 he received an award for the first French underwater film, filmed on a pressurized camera, entitled “Par dix-huit mètres de fond“ (“18m Deep”). The same year Cousteau’s team made “Epaves” (“Shipwrecks”) – which resulted in his commission to establish the French Navy’s Underwater Research Group based in Toulon. During filming he using pro-type aqua-lungs incorporating the recently invented demand regulator.

84904817-83BB-4FBE-84CB-719E4E829F51

The resultant freedom of the Aqua-lung allowed his team to explore the depths of the oceans of the World and document them through a myriad of films. His first films from the late 1940’s were celebrated at the Cannes Film Festival in 1951 and his early adventures were captured in his book published in 1953 “The Silent World”.

In 1956, a film of entitled “The Silent World”, made with famed director Louis Malle won the Palm d’Or at Cannes and an Academy Award for the Best Documentary in 1957. The Rolex Submariner – Rolex – The Submariner – the first divers’ watch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres with a rotatable bezel showing the diver their immersion time, was featured prominently in his film which shows Cousteau wearing a pre-launch Submariner The Silent World – The Film

JC Rolex

Leaving the Navy in 1949 he founded in 1950 the French Oceanographic Campaign (FOC) and leased his trusty ship Calypso from its owner, for a symbolic one franc a year, and wealthy benefactor, Thomas Loel Guinness.

7EFE1B98-3980-4542-92D6-76D080375229

The documentaries commissioned by US TV stations, “The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau ran from 1966 to 1976 followed by a second series “The Cousteau Odyssey” from 1977 to 1982. Cousteau had spent time growing up living in the US so his English was excellent but he retained his Gallic accent that added much to the authenticity of his films.

In 1979, Phillipe – Cousteau’s favourite child – was sadly killed when a sea plane he was piloting crashed in Portugal.

Following Simone’s death in 1990, in 1991 Cousteau remarried, Francine, already the mother of his two other children. Cousteau died from a heart attack on 25th June 1997 and Francine continues her husband’s work as President of the Cousteau Foundation and Cousteau Society. The Museum in Monaco – where Cousteau was a Director from 1957 to 1988 – is well worth a visit.

In the early 1970’s, like many other teenagers I enjoyed snorkeling. The clear influence of Capt. Cousteau stimulated my interest to know more that resulted in my first steps to undertake the British Sub-Aqua Club’s training course that included pool and open water diving. For quite some time, prior to me realizing my future lay not in the sciences, in response to that irritating question from a friend of my parents, “What do you want to do?” my response was always “To be a Marime Biologist” – Merci Capt. Jacques!

A lasting tribute in Cousteau’s own words: “The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”

Join Jacques Cousteau’s on his undersea adventures – by clicking the Amazon link below the image 

490EC946-B081-4C09-BEF2-19B3566D9394

Jacques Cousteau – The Ultimate Collection [DVD] [2007]

May be for those who are not yet ready for Capt. Cousteau’s Ultimate Collection and would – how do you say – like to put a toe in the water….the Undersea World of Jacque Cousteau must the finest starting point – click the Amazon link after the image 

9C34B745-E687-4646-AEDB-3A5C4A666A29

The Undersea World Of JACQUES COUSTEAU 6 DVD Box Set PAL

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Image credit – with grateful thanks – Globalfirstandfacts.com, The Cousteau Foundation, The Cousteau Society, ABC, NBC, Metromedia and Fred Muller II.

Brooks Brothers Shirts

B5921B72-E2AF-44A6-8796-1514D38FCA7E

There is every possibility that it’s a sin. Not one of the Seven Deadly – the major ones – but a guilty pleasure that I, and I am certain many other men, equally enjoy…..wow where’s this going? Pull yourself together. I am talking about the sensual feel of a box fresh/pins still in or freshly laundered/well ironed, one hundred cotton shirt. Bliss!

In my view, the shirts made by Brooks Brothers are not only iconic, given their extensive heritage including the Original Polo Shirt – my very own is our featured image – but their fabrics are simply beautiful and each shirt is a complete joy to wear. 2018 see the 200th anniversary of the launch of this US style icon – some classic Americana – but what’s the story behind these remarkable products?

On 7th April 1818 Henry Sands Brooks, aged 45, opens H. & D. H. Brooks & Co. on the corner of Catherine and Cherry Streets in New York City as both shirt makers and merchants. By 1833 Henry Sands Brooks called upon his sons to assist him with the business. His eldest son, Henry, Jr. took the helm upon his father’s passing a year later. Heny is in charge until 1850, when younger brothers Daniel, John, Elisha, and Edward, assume leadership and change the firm’s name to Brooks Brothers.

2E06C033-E767-4570-B3A1-56D276E57EA0.jpeg

In 1849, Brooks Brother’s scored a first with the introduction of  Ready-Made clothing – a modestly priced alternative to made to measure tailored suits.

In 1850, Brooks Borthers adopted the Golden Fleece, the historical symbol of wool merchants, as their trademark which has remained their distinctive logo ever since.

7B7177BF-C1A6-4F9D-9330-18E7217D027E

In 1865 a regular, Abraham Lincoln, was presented with a Brooks jacket with an embroidered lining bearing the words “One Country One Destiny” below a spread eagle. He wore the jacket at his second inauguration as President. He wore the same jacket two weeks later, on 14th April 1865, to the Washington’s Ford’s Theatre where he was fatally shot by, actor and pro-slavary activists, John Wilkes Booth.

In 1896 John E. Brooks the founder’s grandson was at a polo match in the UK when he saw that the polo players wearing shirts with disctivtive buttoned down collars. He told his colleagues in New York and the Button-Down shirt, a Brooks classic was born. To this day the Brook’s Polo Shirt includes the expression “The Original Polo Shirt” on its label.

C38EDCB5-9658-4BBD-8AE9-3C536702BB57

In 1915 Brooks Brothers relocatesd to 346 Madison Avenue – see below including a list of earlier locations prior to arriving on Madison – set in the heart of New York’s Universities and social clubs.

CD0BD655-4E9A-4F06-B80C-F919CE8B5E91

Madison Avenue in the decades to come became the corporate homes to the advertising, illustration and marketing communities. It’s no surprise that Brooks Borthers have acted as costume advisors on and made suits for the “Mad Men” TV series set in the late 1950’s early 1960’s.

F. Scott FitzGerald was a very keen Brooks customer and drew heavily of his favourite stores in his writing. In this way Brooks effectively created Jay Gatby’s style for “The Gatsby Gatsby”.  Indeed the 2013 remake of the movie featured a cast entirely dressed in Brooks.

8BABEC43-9B9C-419D-9933-F27549C9430C

From the mid-1920’s the Halls of the Ivy League were being dressed with Brooks shirts, striped Repp ties, khaki trousers and blue blazers in the definitive preppie style that I really like to this today and continues yes to be hugely popular.

During a slightly earlier era, the Ivy League students local to Bridgeport CT were throwing Frisbie tins – see our earlier post here – Frisbee

In 1946, Winthrop Holley Brooks, the great-great grandson of the founder sold the business to Julius Garfinckel and Company of Washington DC. The business is now owned and managed by the Italian “Retail Brand Alliance”.

The breadth of customers is truely fascinating – talk about voting with their feet! Whilst John F Kennedy loved their slimmer fitting suits, Andy Warhol, Richard Nixon and Clark Gable, apparently, shopped for clothes no where else. It is said that 39 out of 44 Presendients have chose to wear Brooks clothing.

Would you like to know more about the fastinating story of this American style icon? If so please click on the link below the image

ED2FE461-B4BF-4127-9324-9A8AEB213A9E

Brooks Brothers: Two Hundred Years of American Style

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images from Brooks Brothers with grateful thanks

Rolex – The Submariner

E8302EC6-5FA2-4422-8697-068001628225

What an interesting year for Rolex. Who would have predicted that a relatively “unspecial” Rolex Daytona given by a loving wife to her iconic film star and motor racing obsessed husband would be heralded as the most expensive ever sold. See our previous celebrating the iconic Paul Newman Rolex Daytona Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona

8DCE6AA0-98FC-494B-BD05-FE1C4A85FEAE

Whilst I really like the Daytona, particularly the steel and white faced one, I have always been massive fan of the iconic and hugely aesthetic Rolex Submariner in its various incarnations from the early 1980s.

Interesting news from the same auction when Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona was sold a Submariner achieved an important milestone by recording highest price of $579,000 ever paid a Rolex Submariner (Ref 6200).

FBB1D5FD-C5F7-42F1-8DC2-AA2E332BAD4A

Launched at the 1954 Basel Spring Fair, Rolex debuted its now iconic Submariner (no. 6204). The 6204 and the slightly smaller 6205 were officially launched for sale to the general public in 1955.

It’s difficult to determine a precise designer within the Rolex team but credit is given to Director, Rene P. Jeanneret, a keen amateur diver, who in the early 1950’s encouraged Rolex to develop a sports watch for divers.

Rolex was founded by Hans Wilsdorf (aged 24) and Alfred Davis in London in 1905. Precision was an obsession for Hans and in 1910 a Rolex watch was the first wristwatch to receive the Swiss Certificate of Chronometric Precision from the Official Watch Rating Centre.

In 1920 Rolex moved to Geneva and in 1926, Rolex created the first waterproof and dustproof wristwatch named “Oyster” featuring a protective and hermetically sealed case. In 1933 Rolex patented the world’s first ingenious self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor that continues to this day to be at the heart of every modern automatic watch.

The Submariner was the first divers’ watch waterproof to a depth of 100 metres with a rotatable bezel showing the diver their immersion time. Renowned underwater explorer and film-maker, Jacques-Yves Cousteau was featured prominently wearing a pre-launch Submariner in his documentary film “The Silent World” that won an Academy Award in 1957.

JC Rolex

In 2003, a special model was introduced by Rolex (No.16610V) to celebrate the first 50 years of the Submariner model and it features a green bezel insert. Despite subtle design changes, including a ceramic bezel, the most recent version of the Submariner (no. 116610) launched in 2010 continues in loyal homage to the 1953 original model.

See here from the guys at http://www.Watchfinder.co.uk is an amazing video featuring the dismantling, clearing and reassembling of a Rolex Submariner. Dismantling a Rolex Submariner Now understanding that each watch takes over a year to build and test, I suspect that the price tag is warranted as even a new Rolex Submariner can be worth more than was paid for it!

As we approach the festive season our loved ones may be giving serious thought to parting with some hard earned cash and spoiling us with a Rolex. The one pariah that has been in the back ground of those who enjoy fine watches in recent years are the developments in, particularly the Chinese market’s ability to reproduce luxury items: leather bags, fine silk scarf, watches and motor cars – yup…. if in doubt Google “Land Wind”….staggering.

So here, also from the guys at http://www.Watchfinder.co.uk is a fascinating and very comprehensive video helping us to identify a fake from a genuine Rolex Submariner – now no one should get caught out! How to Spot a Fake Rolex Submariner

As I have said in our “About” section not all of the iconic and design classics featured in Aestheticons are currently in my possession. However, in a few months I celebrate a “special birthday” and who knows……When it does I will be able to gush appropriately in these pages about the many and varied thrills that I am assured are certain to occur…..

As a post script, ok call me a sucker for some great piece of marketing, but please check out this James Cameron piece for Rolex SA – James Cameron’s Rolex Submariner

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images from Rolex, Watchfinder and Jake’s Rolex World’s

Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona

24C0093F-EBD3-486B-BF0E-B707FC1E09EC

A Rolex Daytona (Ref: 6239) given as gift by his loving wife, Joanne Woodward, who on its reverse inscribed the words “Drive Safely, Me”, to car racing mad film star, Paul Newman made history on 26th October 2017.

8DCE6AA0-98FC-494B-BD05-FE1C4A85FEAE

Why? Because in a Phillips sale room at 450 Park Avenue, New York City at the Winning Icon s Auction, the watch was sold by, James Cox, a former boyfriend of the Newman’s daughter, Nell, who had received it as a gift from the late film star in 1984 – as he allegedly didn’t have a watch to tell the time to get to appointments for his tree felling clients – for a staggering $17.75m (including buyers premium) making it simply the most expensive wrist watch ever!

84F4B3CB-E375-4103-8D5E-E2220409A567

Purchased by Ms Woodward for $300 in 1975, the watch was thought to have been lost. It was, in fact, secreted in a bank vault after its owner caught wind of how much it may have been worth. The sale far exceeded the expectations set at circa $5-$10m.

It is understood that a substantial portion of the proceeds are destined for charitable causes as operated by Ms Newman which would have met with the Rolex former owner’s approval. Mr Newman’s “Newman’s Own” range of salad dressings has contributed $495m since its founding in 1982 to August 2017 to his chosen charities.

Another important milestone that was achieved at the sale was the record highest price of $579,000 paid for my favourite model in Rolex’ range – the Submariner (Ref 6200). My own homily in praise of this beautiful watch can be seen here – Rolex Submariner

FBB1D5FD-C5F7-42F1-8DC2-AA2E332BAD4A

Photo credit courtesy of Douglas Kirkland,  Philips Auctions and Bob’s Watches

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Volkswagen Karmann Ghia

karmann-ghia-cabriolet-729x486-367a03615e6da8c3

I am giving serious thought to the expression “Favourite Car” in response to an enquirers question to name mine. Now, I thought I had a long-term and completely harmonious fictional relationship with a 1965 Porsche 911 Targa. See here our previous past Porsche 911 Targa 

No question my pulse quicken and my throat dries a little at the thought of those classic lines, that ticking engine and those long lazy sunny days mastering the hairpins down to La Corniche. Then, as if to upset the harmony of a steady relationship, a perfectly formed little nose nudges you and with winking classic headlights clears its throat and ask you if, perhaps with a little hesitation and possibly some disappointment, whether you have forgotten them.

They remind you of the mid-1970’s classic car magazine collection “On Four Wheels” – which to the best of my recollection ran for about three years and with each edition – after the usual “magazine-crack” two for one introductory offer – became increasingly more expensive. They remind you of this endless summer days with your childhood pal, Mike, when you’d visit car showrooms, argue about the merits of Italian cars versus German or French ones and write to “concessionaires” asking for brochures often to be inundated with coffee table sized promo materials featuring sleek new sleek Lamborghinis and Maseratis. Mike still has his collection of brochures stored in a garage – Ebay anyone?

One such car is Volkswagen’s iconic Karmann Ghia – especially the Cabriolet version. My Godmother has a hard topped version in grey and she was quite cool so that was how this pretty car became locked in my evolving psyche from the mid-sixties.

20DA107A-960C-4909-B42F-7B4D9E21A37C

The Volkswagen Karmann Ghia – based on the classic and mechanics of a first model Beetle – see our celebration of this amazing car here Volkswagen Beetle – an icon re-imagined –  was debuted as a design concept at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. Following launch, it was available in 2+2 coupe versions (from 1955 to 1974) and as a cabriolet (from 1957 to 1974).

The Karmann Ghia was a collaboration that featured the styling genius of Luigi Segre, of the legendary Turin based coach-builder, Carrozzeria Ghia (now owned by Ford), and the hand-shapes panelling  of German coach-builder Karmann – who VW had commissioned to develop the car. A massive success with over 445,000 cars built, the Karmann Ghia was extensively exported, particularly to the US market.

The VW Karmann Ghia Cabriolet was first introduced August 1957.

1D2B94D7-8544-4787-9E1C-FB9FA712DB00

The Cabriolet has, along with many cars in the VW range, been featured in a series of classic Doyle Dane and Bernbach (DDB) print media adverts in the 1950s and 60’s; so much so that DDB’s work with Volkswagen, who they have represented since 1959 (opening an office in Germany in 1961) was voted the No. 1 campaign of all time by Advertising Age’s 1999 “The Century of Advertising”.

A classic DD&B poster from the early 1960’s:

img_2174

In the early 1970’s, in response to increasing vehicle safety requirements, particularly in the US, the smooth chrome wrap-around bumpers were replaced with energy absorbing bumpers. By the mid 1970’s the model was phased out to be replaced, initially, by the Porsche 914 – never a particular favourite.

STOP PRESS: In the Gooding and Company Scottsdale Auction in January 2018 a 1963 hard topped version of the Karmann Ghia achieve a respectable $37,400 which whilst is not cheap does suggest that this fine German brand is an everyman collectible – see this lovely example and read here the Gooding and Company report Gooding and Company Karmann Ghia

Seen and loved the car – now get the T shirt – please click the AMAZON link under the image 

img_5576

VOLKSWAGEN KARMANN GHIA 1970 STENCIL MENS T SHIRT CLASSIC CAR (XXL(50-52), RED)

Read more about the history – here.

img_5578

Volkswagen Karmann Ghias and Cabriolets: 1949-1980

Essential mantelpiece material – a die cast model to keep those juices flowing!

img_5577

Minichamps 155054031 1:18 Scale “1970 VW Karmann Ghia Convertible Black” Replica Model Toy

1CC45A27-4876-4369-9A51-ABBF978B5027

Karmann Ghia Type 14 Logo T-Shirt Oldtimer Car Cars Collector Driver Ralley Osnabrück Coupé Cabriolet 17156 – Grey – XX-Large

If you are lucky enough to find a Karmann Gaia in reasonable condition – and at a reasonable price – grab it! If successful you’ll need the iconic Haynes Manual to tell you just what to do to keep your beautiful car in fab condition.

935BCC85-08F7-41DB-81C3-132229465F18

VW Beetle and Karmann Ghia (1954-79) Automotive Repair Manual (Haynes Automotive Repair Manuals)

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Images by West Coast Classics, Doyle Dane and Bernbach, Ara Howrani/Howrani Studios and Gooding and Company with grateful thanks

Levi‘s 501

AAFA4ABB-0017-4046-91D7-1DC9C4143EDD

501’s were seen as work-wear for much of its first sixty years being rechristened ‘blue jeans’ in the 1950’s.

Jacob Davis, a tailor, was approached by a workman’s wife asking for a stronger pair of trousers. He sought a solution to pocket and fly tearing experienced by workers using his denim trousers by applying copper rivets to the stress points of the garment. He then went in search of a partner to help make these early examples.

Levi Strauss was a dry goods vender who had sold Jacob the denim he needed for his early samples. They joined forces and the production which following its the grant of Patent on 20th May 1873  for “waist overalls” heralded a massive success.

5B088D9D-BF7A-4071-BB8B-EE8C679B323B

In 1886 the Two Horse leather patch was first used and added to the overalls.  In 1890 the Patent passed into the Public Domian, meaning the company lost their exclusive over riveted denim. As a result the company introduced the “501” as the definitive version of their denim work “waist overalls”, with copper rivets and the Two Horse leather and later the “leather-like” patch.

51368290-ED71-47A8-8A55-03DDE093BC66

By 1936 the Red Tab appeared. These ingenious and other design elements have ensured that Levi Strauss have been able to seek protection for their design against cynical copying. The company spend million of dollars annually protecting their Intellectual Property Rights.

3AF06DC9-157A-4470-A111-074088B9C2DE

Always at the heart of youth culture, the universal appeal stems from its integrity, a loyalty to the original design, the highest quality denim and sturdy manufacture.

I have loved Levi’s jeans since a teenager. Whilst the waist band may have expanded – and indeed contracted on various occasions due to mad cabbage soup diets etc – I have been through zip-fly, yellow label and 360 degrees back to red-label button-fly 501.

FDF17431-114F-4F32-A04A-D1FDC21A4CDA

They are simply my favourite jeans that have seen me through endless concerts and music festivals. Dylan at Blackbush in 1977 (that included sleeping on Waterloo Station concourse due to a missed last train), to Glastonbury mud-caked, U2 and the Rolling Stones at Wembley to Mumford and Sons at Benicassim they have simply been more than a wardrobe anchor.

Today they combine perfectly with classic shoes, an Argentinian woven belt and a great shirt and/or jacket – depending on the season – for London creative business meetings. Less Revolution and more Evolution my 501s – and I now have several favourite pairs – are still beautifully made, ooze classic iconic style and are, above all, hugely dependable.

Would you like a pair of Levis 501? Click this AMAZON link to buy your own iconic jeans click the Amazon link below the image: 

AAFA4ABB-0017-4046-91D7-1DC9C4143EDD

Levi’s 501 Original Fit Men’s Jeans, Blue (Onewash), 34W x 30L

The essential Argentinian belt can also be added here by clicking the Amazon link below the image – make sure you get the right length!

5E82A122-7E82-4346-AF78-611C6D29E07F

Carlos Diaz Mens Womens Unisex Argentinian Brown Leather Embroidered Polo Belt (85 cm/ 32-34 Inches)

If you liked this post please “Like” and share it with your friends. We’d really like to hear your experiences of the subject(s) featured in this post. Please share them below in the “Leave a Reply” section. Thanks

Photo by Levi Strauss